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Pet Poisons: Icky Things Pets Eat

Avoid the poisons, bad foods, medications and other items pets eat


The range of this topic is almost endless, as pets have (and will) eat almost anything. Sometimes it is the food we unknowingly give them - either recalled pet food, human foods that are toxic to pets, or medications intended for humans. Other times, they find rat bait, stray strings and socks or other household items that leave us scratching our heads and asking why.

Learn about foods to avoid and other potential pet food safety hazards here.

Please note: this article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

1. Pets Eat the Ickiest Things

Belle Smiles by Genglo
by Genglo on Flickr

While preparing for a new article, I asked the question "what is the worst thing your pet has eaten?" on my Twitter page. The replies started coming in. It seems that there are quite a few pets who ate all sorts of stuff, edible or not.

Tell us: What's the worst thing your pet has eaten?

2. Dietary Indiscretion - My pet just ate a what?

Half in the bag - image credit: klynslis on Flickr
© klynslis on Flickr

Just when you think you are taking the best care of your pets as possible, they find something icky to chew on! Why do dogs (and cats) eat the things they do? We may never know all the answers to this seemingly simple question. Probably because it smelled good, they were hungry, or just plain curious. Is it something you should be concerned about? Maybe.

3. Beware of Batteries

Batteries / John Seb on Flickr
John Seb on Flickr
Batteries of all shapes and sizes are in many everyday objects. We know to keep batteries out of reach of pets, but what about the TV remote, cell phone, toys, or other small chewable items that require batteries? Accidental ingestion happens. Here's what to know about the different types of batteries.

4. Top 8 Picnic Poisons

Summer Picnic / Edenpictures on Flickr
Edenpictures on Flickr
One little potato chip isn't going to hurt them, but there are plenty of other human foods that can. With the help of Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A. Lee DVM DACVEC, veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline, here are some treats to avoid, all year round.

5. Foods Toxic To Pets: Onions

Onions / SoraZG on Flickr
SoraZG on Flickr

Onions are potentially harmful to dogs and cats, especially smaller dogs who like to get into the garbage.

Guest Author Dr. Jonathan J. Kreissler, a veterinary internist in Miami, Florida, discusses a case of onion toxicity in a terrier.

6. Foods Toxic to Pets - Chocolate

Chocolate Demise by foooooey on Flickr
by foooooey on Flickr

Chocolate is a popular treat all year round. Care must be taken when animals are around, though. Chocolate can be toxic, and sometimes even fatal, for animals. Dogs are most commonly affected, due to their ability to find it and the common 'sweet tooth' they seem to have. It is important to remember that cats and other species are susceptible to the toxic effects of chocolate, too.

Learn what makes chocolate toxic, what types of chocolate are more toxic, and what signs are seen with chocolate overdose in pets.

7. Foods Toxic to Pets - Raisins and Grapes

Green and Red Grapes
Getty - Photodisc / Hiroshi Higuchi

Originally thought to be an urban legend, it is now known that raisins and grapes are indeed toxic to dogs. The type of grape and the type of dog doesn't seem to matter, and the toxic amount may be a small serving to several ounces.

Read this FAQ to learn what is known about this mystery toxin and to safeguard your pets from accidental poisoning.

8. Foods Toxic To Pets - Case Report: Raisin Toxicity

Raisins by babbagecabbage on Flickr
by babbagecabbage on Flickr
Raisins and grapes are very toxic to dogs and possibly cats. Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A. Lee DVM DACVECC of Pet Poison Helpline share a case report concerning a three year old female Labrador dog that survived raisin toxicity with aggressive emergency and supportive care.

9. Foods Toxic to Pets - Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts by jessicafm on Flickr
by jessicafm on Flickr
Many people love macadamia nuts and they are a popular gift item. Many dogs like them too, but keep them out of reach from your canine friends - macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.

10. Foods Toxic to Pets - Yeast Dough

Rising Dough by ella novak on Flickr
by ella novak on Flickr
Dough that has yeast in it poses a hazard to pets who consume it in large quantity. The risks are two-fold. The first risk is that the dough may rise after ingestion, causing intestinal obstruction. Secondly, the yeast can ferment sugars, creating a secondary problem of ethanol (alcohol) poisoning in the animal.
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